DOT: Two-Way Protected Bike Lane Coming to Ashland Place in Downtown Brooklyn

A two-way protected bike lane is coming to this scary stretch of roadway on Navy Street and Ashland Place. Photo: Julianne Cuba
A two-way protected bike lane is coming to this scary stretch of roadway on Navy Street and Ashland Place. Photo: Julianne Cuba

The city will install a two-way protected bike lane along Ashland Place and Navy Street — a dangerous, narrow stretch of roadway in Downtown Brooklyn that is often unavoidable as a major connection between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the rest of the borough’s booming downtown.

At Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee on Thursday night, the Department of Transportation unveiled its long-awaited plans to keep cyclists safe on the crucial north-south route, where drivers recklessly speed off the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and there’s not even a sidewalk for pedestrians.

Ashland Place. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Ashland Place. Photo: Julianne Cuba

But the same group that vociferously panned the Schermerhorn Street bike lane gave a surprising thumbs up to the life-saving Ashland Place and Navy Street safety redesign, said Nicole Murray, a public member of the board. The only pushback was, why not sooner? DOT said it expects work to wrap sometime in 2023, but would not give a more specific timeline.

“Why can’t we get this this summer?” asked Murray.

Last year, the DOT filled in a missing link connecting the Brooklyn waterfront to DUMBO and the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges by building out a two-way protected bike lane on Navy Street between Sands Street and Flushing Avenue.

But the dangers remain on the rest of Navy Street up to Ashland Place, creating a harrowing experience for pedestrians and cyclists.

Since January, 2018, there have been 297 reported crashes on the less than one-mile stretch on Navy Street and Ashland Place between Park Avenue and Hanson Place, causing 111 injuries, including to 22 cyclists and 28 pedestrians, according to Crash Mapper. And in February, 2017, 27-year-old Sumiah Ali was killed at the corner of Ashland Place and Dekalb Avenue when she was struck by the driver of a UPS truck.

Dekalb Avenue and Ashland Place. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Dekalb Avenue and Ashland Place, where a woman was hit and killed in 2018. Photo: Julianne Cuba

On Navy Street, between Dekalb and Myrtle avenues, and between Park and Flushing avenues, DOT will create a two-way parking-protected bike lane along the east curb and install pedestrian islands to shorten crossing distances.

The number of vehicle lanes will be maintained, but left turns at Myrtle Avenue will be banned, according to DOT.

The city will also create much-needed pedestrian space on Navy Street between Myrtle and Park avenues, next to the Ingersoll Houses.

But a full sidewalk installation is now still only a side thought.

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One woman who on Friday afternoon was perilously walking south in the now-unprotected the bike on Navy Street in the bike lane told Streetsblog that she does support bike lanes, but that pedestrians are just as deserving of safe spaces to get around.

Jeanette Brown, who lives in the Ingersoll Houses, walking along dangerous Navy Street. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Jeanette Brown, who lives in the Ingersoll Houses, walking along dangerous Navy Street. Photo: Julianne Cuba

“I walk on the bike lane, which is not safe. I just take my chances. They put all these bike lanes in, they should have sidewalks for people to talk. The bike lane was a good idea that Mayor Bloomberg created, I agree with that, but what are we to do?”

On Ashland Place between Fulton Street and Dekalb Avenue, DOT will convert the stretch from a two-way thoroughfare into a one-way street heading northbound to make room for a two-way protected bike lane on the east side of the curb, using a combination of concrete barriers and vertical delineators.

And on Ashland Place between Hanson Place and Fulton Street, the city will similarly create a two-way parking protected bike lane along the east curb, also by converting the thoroughfare from two-way to one-way.

DOT will also install pedestrian refuge islands to make it easier and safer to cross, and add metered parking on Ashland between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street.

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Bike New York’s Jon Orcutt says the city is finally taking the bold initiative of making Ashland Place a one-way street in order to protect cyclists along the crucial corridor.

“The difficult part of putting a really good bike lane in between Sands and Navy is that skinny piece of Ashland, and they solved it by making it one-way,” said Orcutt.

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